By LEON YOUNGBLOOD
We haven’t been able to turn around at Briar Circle without running into weather. The latest was flooding, which apparently was countywide.
It’s warm now, but it hasn’t been that long ago that a half-foot of snow was on the ground. Spring is beginning to express itself, but can’t make up its mind: Warm? Cold? Wet, or merely humid? Sun or a good, hard freeze? However, when Nature is indecisive about what to send, it always has a simple solution: Be vague; be foggy.
Weather-wise, the word “fog” denotes condensed particles of water that differ from clouds only by being near the ground. The word has been hijacked, though. For sinister purposes, it now connotes things like the political acumen and mental condition of the opposition party; it describes the tactics of “pettifoggers,” persons who confuse issues through a manipulation of rhetoric, and describes the condition of persons thus confused. It is not restricted to politics, though. It applies to the general understanding (which is always “foggy”) in matters of morals, religion, finances, science, health, cooking, childrearing—you name it—of all persons who are unable to see things from an intelligent, reasonable perspective like yours. In short, anybody with a confused view is “fog bound.”
This fogginess can cut both ways, though, as cartoonist Al Capp’s “Senator Jack S. Phogbound” in the L’il Abner stories demonstrates. The senator was a crooked “pettifogger,” but he also was in a “fog” about what was going on around him. You would have to be pretty old to remember L’il Abner, but Senator Phogbound is a good example of fogginess as a mental condition.
As a government figure, Phogbound also fits well. Did you know there is a “Foggy Bottom” district in Washington, D.C. that houses the United States Department of State? Draw your own conclusions from that, but as it is, there is a large enough sampling of foggers and the perpetually fogged to draw from for any amount of illustration.
But I have digressed and will get back to the subject. There was heavy morning fog the other day at Briar Circle. Later reports confirmed it was spread out regionally, and the metropolises (compared to BC) of Heavener, Talahina, Poteau, Hontubby, etc., doubtless had their share of it.
I imagine the hovering grays and chilly mist softened the visually harsh edges of buildings and streets, and lights shining through the haze created pretty scenes. But take away the manmade elements—the linear structures, the traffic, the lights and town noises—and place yourself in the Ouachita forests.
I stepped onto the porch of our cabin in our little portion of this wilderness. The quiet atmosphere was calming, the cool white and gray mist was refreshing. I could only see a few yards, but I knew where I was, and walked along familiar trails that were more beautiful, somehow, for being obscured.
It was as if nature was dressed in a negligee, becoming more attractive for what was hidden than for what was revealed. As I walked onto National Forest land, under the tall ancient pines, the forest became a still, solemn, beautifully dressed wonderland. I hoped that the parks and campgrounds in the area had visitors, that there were others enjoying and appreciating this event. And in spite of connotations of “fogginess,” my mind and senses were clear and sharp. It was a detoxifying process, wandering in this fog.
But I knew other people were having different thoughts about it. For many, the fog did not serve nature as a nightgown; it was a shroud. It created hazards for drivers and for children walking to school; it caused arthritic joints to ache, and aroused other pains in the body; it made golf impossible.
But for me, and in spite of connotations of “fogginess,” my mind and senses were sharp and clear. After an hour, I was at peace with myself and felt I had devised viable solutions for 68% of the world’s problems.
I had not, of course.
The ephemeral sensation was due solely to the surroundings and circumstances created by the pleasant weather, which was created by the Lord. I am thankful for fleeting moments of this sort. They come at different times under different circumstances. One day, in the hereafter, they will be permanent; for now, they pass by all too soon. Enjoy them while you can.